Last week we attended a fundraiser for a client for whom we had recently launched a new website. It was refreshing to have the time to stand by the bar and engage in a rambling conversation that flowed from one off-beat subject to another. Suddenly, our client mentioned he was going through our online portfolio and the big revelation he had was that we are storytellers. Exactly. He got it.
As he moved from the topic of one client to another, from identity to websites, he understood our work, he got the meaning – the message is the most important nugget of information and that’s what we focus on first. From there we have a foundation to design from – and to tell a story.
Stories enlighten, bring us together, captivate. Logos condense a story into a simple, memorable mark. Photography, typography, graphics and words explain a story in print and websites. Environmental graphics tell a story and guide. All the pieces come together to create an experience that reflects a client’s business. A brand.
We may not be sitting around a campfire or standing on a stage telling a story, but the visual stories we tell are just as intriguing…and vital to any business.
Photo: Robin Cox
With access to thousands of visual impressions a day, there seems to be much confusion in the business world.
New clients for whom we’re creating logo/identity/messaging/branding for have a common mantra, “We want our logo to look like so and so’s and our website to look like so and so’s and our graphics to look like so and so’s, and our photos…” You get the picture. They’re having an identity crisis.
Then we ask, “So, who are YOU?” There’s generally a very clear answer, but one that doesn’t remotely relate to what they think their company’s outward facing persona should be. After explaining that those alter-identities and brands are not them, the fun work begins in uncovering their true identity by homing in on what they are all about, and how they can best make a connection with their audience and clients.
Sure, we’re all influenced by the ever changing visuals we encounter – and it’s cool to be inspired and impossible not to be. But the best thing a business can do is to be true to itself and have the courage to reveal its own identity. That’s how to connect with your real audience.
Learn more about Secret Valley Media Labs.
Photo, Robin Cox.
The other day I stopped at the bank drive-through teller. As is most often the case, I had my dog, Bodi, with me. Bodi is accustomed to receiving lovely little dog cookies from the canister that shoots down from the vacuum tube. However, on this particular day, there was a new teller who had not been trained to give my dog his treats.
Bodi was also more subdued than usual and didn’t plaster his face against my car window in anticipation of a treat. When I pulled the magic canister from the tube, Bodi was standing on my lap sniffing it excitedly. To his great surprise, there was no cookie inside! I could actually see the shock on his face. I turned to him and said, “Bodi, how can you expect a treat when you didn’t make sure you were seen? The teller didn’t know you were here.”
This was a perfect analogy for any business. This brief exchange with my dog somehow gave me a new insight into how we market our clients’ business as well as our own. Questions we always ask are, “How is the best way and where are the best places to be seen?” If a business isn’t visible, how can it reap any rewards?
And I can assure you, Bodi will be making sure he’s seen the next time we’re at the bank.